Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 30th, 2011 at 11:26 am
Back in June, what was just a concept drawing and idea by art school graduate Gabriel Wartofsky is now a full-fledged, rideable prototype. In addition, the company behind the bike has been very busy garnering attention for not just the bike itself, but for the larger concept behind it — to revolutionize urban commuting with the perfect tool to bridge the elusive "last mile" of urban trips.
I've been in touch with Conscious Commuter Corporation President and CEO Bob Vander Woude for all the latest developments — including the company's plans to manufacture the frames in Portland.
Along with a Kickstarter campaign that just launched last night, Vander Woude has announced that the bike will be featured on the "green carpet" at the upcoming Environmental Media Association awards in Los Angeles next month. Vander Woude and Wartofsky will also be on a panel titled, "Solution for the First and Last Mile Commute" at the inaugural SXSW Eco event in Austin, Texas.
Vander Woude also shared that the City of LA Planning Department, the Mineta Transportation Institute of Silicon Valley, and the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica have all expressed interest in using the Conscious Commuter folding e-bike as a bike-share system to be integrated with buses.
In addition to marketing, the company has refined the design and moved from a drawing to a working, first prototype. Testing is already underway on the second prototype and Vander Woude says they are close to a deal with a Portland-based frame manufacturer to build the first production batch of 100 units in early 2012 (which the Kickstarter will hopefully fund).
Check out a few more shots of the prototype.
This bike and the company and people behind it, seem like the real deal to me (call it an educated hunch if you'd like). The bike boasts use of recycled aluminum for the frame (which makes it light and "70% more energy efficient to manufacture than virgin aluminum"), a shaft-drive which means no greasy chain, a battery pack hidden in the frame, quick and compact folding, an integrated front light, and more.
This is definitely a company to watch. If you'd like to ride one of the Conscious Commuter bikes, roll over to the "Cars in the Park" electric vehicle event at the Portland Art Museum (South Park Blocks) on September 10th.
Learn more background on the bike, including Wartofsky's inspiration for it, on the Kickstarter page.